Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Rain Day, and No Tilting

It's been raining hard all day.  Fortunately it's still pretty warm - 50s - although temperatures are supposed to drop to below freezing tonight as the rain ends.

Red and Pie have the day off since I have my music lessons today.

Dawn and I had an excellent ride this morning.  I had her rain sheet on, so the only thing I had to do to get her ready was to groom the dry parts of the horse, rinse the mud off her legs and pick her feet.  We did lots of nice forward trotting, and I was still working (under Dawn's direction) on my right bend.  Opening the right hip is getting more automatic, but today Dawn had me work on my head position.  I'm pretty good about looking in the direction we're going, and turning my head, but today I discovered that when I turn my head, I also tend to tilt it to the right.  This unbalances me, and therefore unbalances Dawn.  I can tell when I do it because as we come off the corner into the straightaway, I feel as if I'm shifting my center of gravity to the outside - this is because my head is coming back into line.

So I worked on keeping my head straight, while turning it slightly and turning my eyes.  Worked like a charm to keep us both balanced - Dawn approved.

After we were done, I put a fresh rain sheet on Dawn - the old one, which has been rewaterproofed but isn't perfect, was soaked - and sent her off.

Then I took care of my friend's horse - she's on vacation for the week.  I pick his feet and take him for a walk - he's in a pen because of some lameness issues - and give him some meds with a bit of feed int he afternoon.  He's a very nice horse, and very sweet, but I had to be clear with him that certain things aren't permitted around me - he's not to poke me with his nose, or search my pockets, or lip me or the lead rope, or keep walking when I stop, or run into me, or barge into his feed bucket when I bring his meds/feed into his stall.  It only took about a day for him to understand what I wanted.  He now keeps his lips and nose to himself, and stops beautifully when I stop.  He waits for me to hang the feed bucket. He also follows nicely behind me, including on turns.  He's getting lots and lots of praise which he seems to really enjoy. If his owner wants him to behave differently for her, that's fine - horses can easily make distinctions between what one handler wants and what a different one wants.  These ground manners/handling things are really very simple - they take some discipline on my part to be consistent and clear, but if I do that almost every horse is with the program almost immediately.

Tomorrow we have hoof trims, and then the vet is visiting in the afternoon to give Pie his rabies shot, and since she's here, Pie (who needs to be sedated for this) and Red are getting, ahem, "cleaned up". . .


  1. A good day all in all. Wonder when his owner comes back if he will revert to his old behaviors?

    Funny about Pie. My horses actually seem to like it.

    1. I expect, unless his owner changes how she interacts with him, that he'll be back to his old ways (with her only) very quickly - he's just doing what she's "trained" him to do.

      Pie is deeply offended at the whole idea. Red is perfectly happy about it. Go figure.

  2. The trainers we work with, Larry Whitesell/Jennifer Bauer, taught us to keep our shoulders aligned with the horse's shoulders and our heads aligned with the horses head. That has helped us keep upright and aligned with them in a bend/turn. Basically, it sounds like what you're saying with different words.


    1. That's a very good way of thinking about it.

  3. I have the same problem with tending to lean in turns. Try this (works for me): turn your shoulders instead of your head and put a little extra weight into your outside iron. Doing the two together keeps me straight.

  4. ground manners must be a priority , for me too, I love a friendly horse, but respectful too

  5. "horses can easily make distinctions between what one handler wants and what a different one wants." -- Which is precisely why horses can be so naughty with kids who don't hold them to the same expectations as their adult riders!

    As for the unmentionables, Panama lets me clean his, and actually enjoys it a bit more than I would like at times... Rondo, on the other hand, I need to work on. The vet has done him twice, and both times he was sedated for his teeth... and came INSTANTLY awake, stamping and kicking and swishing his tail like you wouldn't believe, the minute the vet went where Rondo thought he had no business being. I am hoping that, with some work, he will eventually feel more amenable to me (mom) doing it.


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